Personal Injury Law: Assumption of Risk

Picture this — you own a property that includes a decrepit old house. It sits empty and uninhabitable, with rotting floors. It’s full of hazards, but whether it’s because you want to restore it one day or you can’t afford demolition, it has been sitting on your land for many years. Then one Halloween, someone decides it would be fun and exciting to explore the old “haunted house.” They fall through a second story floor and break a leg. 

If this person sues you, you could potentially use an assumption of risk defense. You could argue that there were signs posted at every window and door saying “No trespassing.” The risk was obvious and the injured party assumed that risk when they entered the structure on your property. This would likely mean that the negligence claim against you could not be met.

So now we have a general idea of what “assumption of risk” means in personal injury cases. But what does it mean for you if you’re the person who has been injured?

Defendants are likely to raise an assumption of risk defense in the following types of cases:

 

  • Premises liability (as described above)
  • Situations in which you signed a waiver and release provision
  • Extreme sports activities
  • Activities involving dangerous substances

 

Essentially, these defenses are used in cases where the risk you were taking when you got injured might be described as “obvious.”

To be successful with an assumption of risk defense, the defendant will need to be able to approve that you had knowledge of the risk involved in what you were doing before you did it. They also need to be able to prove that you accepted this risk voluntarily, either by implication or expressly, such as by signing a waiver. The defendant must be able to prove, with a preponderance of evidence, that both of these possibilities are true.

How do I continue with my case if the defendant uses an assumption of risk defense?

Unfortunately, if the defendant can prove that you assumed risk, it may mean you do not have a case. However, if you have been injured, you will be happy to learn that there are still many circumstances in which a strong attorney can show that you did not, in fact, know of and/or accept the risk at hand. 

Not sure if you have a case or not? The attorneys at The Bagneris Firm want to hear your story. We can help you determine if the other party was negligent and whether or not you have a strong personal injury case. We are available to discuss your injury at any time, day or night. We take cases nationwide. If you think you might have a case, give us a call at (504) 810-3995. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Bagneris Law Firm

The Bagneris Firm is an experienced civil litigation firm with decades of combined experience serving both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide-range of different cases including personal injury and business disputes. Our firm is based out of New Orleans, and we serve clients throughout Louisiana. Attorneys Emile and Suzette Bagneris have a long and impressive careers with experience training insurance adjusters and risk managers, representing large corporations and insurance companies, and helping individuals and businesses with all aspects of their legal cases. The fact that we have represented clients on all sides of legal issues allows us to better predict what will happen and prepare an effective strategy to help our clients.

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